An outbreak of acute gastroenteritis of suspected viral aetiology occurred in April 2003 in the British Royal Fleet Auxillary ship (RFA) Argus deployed in the Northern Arabian Gulf. There were 37 cases amongst a crew of 400 personnel. Of 13 samples examined from cases amongst the crew, six enteric viruses were detected by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR). Five different viruses were identified including, three norovirus genotypes, a sapovirus and a rotavirus. No multiple infections were detected. A common food source was implicated in the outbreak and epidemiological analysis showed a statistically significant association with salad as the source of the outbreak, with a relative risk of 3·41 (95% confidence interval of 1·7–6·81) of eating salad on a particular date prior to the onset of symptoms. Faecal contamination of the salad at source was the most probable explanation for the diversity of viruses detected and characterized.
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